|Wednesday, August 25|
|During the early morning, the rain stops and the
clouds lift. We see sunshine again. After a hearty breakfast, we prepare
to go kayaking. Today, Peter and Jane paddle together, and Nathan and Don
share a kayak. The other paddlers stay with their partners.
We paddle from the Columbia to the fish farm. One of the attendants from the farm tells us the story of fish farming in these waters.There used to be many small operations, but four large companies have bought out most of them. The farms have problems with fish crowding, toxic tides coming into the fish tanks, and predators around the tanks. Conservationists are concerned about the adverse effects of decaying fish food and escaping fish entering the ecosystem. The fish farms raise Atlantic Salmon, a fish not native to these waters. Each tank contains between 30 and 60 thousand fish depending upon their size. There were four tanks in this farm. We paddle up to the tanks and see the fish jumping into the air.
The attendant says the fish jump because they are happy. We have our doubts.
An unpleasant smell of fish food is strong in this area. Several tons of fish food is pumped into each tank every day. The attendants use a submerged camera while feeding the fish from the surface. When the fish pellets sink to the level of the camera below the tank, they stop the feeding. We will see many other fish farms as we motor through this area, but are told that there is a moratorium on the placement of new ones pending environmental studies. Sharon gives the farm attendant a couple of bottles of Bill’s wine as a thank you and suggests that he share it with the other attendants. He laughs.
Next, we paddle to Village Island. This is the site of New Vancouver, a deserted First Nation village. It is also the site of a beach and burial islands. We paddle among the burial islands – small dots of land covered with shrubs and pine trees. A few of them have cement block burial cairns. In earlier times there would be wooden platforms up in the trees containing the deceased and his/her favorite possessions. These would be left to decay naturally. But these places were disturbed by looters. Now the remains are placed in either wooden, or block containers. But these too have been violated.
We circle around a couple of burial islands and come into a channel that presents us with a 100 meter long beach. Abandoned frame houses sit on the bank above the beach. Other kayakers are already here. This location is a popular destination for kayak camping tours. We make our landing and quickly find the rest room. As Sharon has stated one’s time in a sea kayak is primarily determined by the time it takes to fill one’s bladder. The morning coffee and tea make that time short on some days. We explore New Vancouver, visit the abandoned buildings, and view some fallen totem poles which marked the entrances to long houses or meeting lodges. The carved faces are still quite visible. We eat lunch on the beach – tomato, cucumber, onion, and cheese sandwiches with other snacks.
In the afternoon, we paddle along the Village Channel and past some more burial islands. We are feeling good about our paddling abilities. The waters continue to be protected from wind and severe currents. Two of our paddling teams are really putting on the miles – Nathan and Don, and Nancy and Jennifer. The others are winning points on paddling style, well synchronized strokes and good position in the boats. We reach the Columbia by mid afternoon. After changing out of their paddling clothes, the crab trapping party goes out and collects their traps. They return with five Dungeness crabs and we rejoice, because there will be a crab boil tomorrow noon. Afterwards we have our afternoon tea and snacks and the Columbia motors to Monday Anchorage between Mars and Tracy Islands in the Broughton Archipelago.
In the evening another group goes with Bill to set out crab traps. This time it is Jane, Nathan, Don,Jennifer and Lorna. Tonight, dinner is curry chicken with rice. After dinner we hear Kris’s story of his days in the US Navy’s submarine service. He tells how one survives in a below water vessel for 40 some days straight. He talks mostly about the short sleeping shifts (6 hours on, 6 hours off) and the lack of fresh food toward the end of the voyage. He would have a stash of coca-cola cans as his special treat and would sell them to his shipmates toward the end of the cruise for high prices. The night is again a quiet and restful one.